A Beautiful Soul- an interview with Barbara Tucker

Image*first published in Blue Marlin Magazine August 2012

It’s been four years already since Ibiza’s favourite soulstress first stepped up to the microphone in the Blue Marlin and, for the meantime, she’s going nowhere; she loves it and it loves her.  Her range, her versatility are more than plain to see and it’s her adeptness at switching from freestyle to formatted performance that have bands like P Brothers and Mash Machine hungry to collaborate with the Soul Diva of Ibiza. Not surprising, really, when one glances at Barbara Tucker’s discography and/or résumé. This is a lady with many strings to her bow- from her long list of hits, to her choreographic productions, to her international showcasing of artists…

By her own admittance, Barbara Tucker feels ‘a part of the island’, the American Soul Artist that represents Ibiza, because, as she says, “I don’t see any other soul singers round here’. Having first visited sixteen years ago, but with twelve whole summers already under her sparkly belt, it was high time to catch up with La Tucker at the very same venue that she now calls home…

Back at Blue Marlin, Barbara!

Yes! I’ve already been performing here this summer and there are more dates coming up. It’s a lot of fun singing with the band. I like the versatility of singing with them and then later, coming back and freestyling with the DJ.

Versatility seems to be your middle name- as well as the singing, you dance, you promote…

I’ve been singing for 27 years already, and did my first real recording in December 1985. I also grew up dancing with troupes like Eternal Combustion, C & C, Soul System back in New York, and would put stage shows together for them.  In the 90s, I did the first House Music Awards show for which I choreographed the house dancers for that. I’ve been promoting for years, starting with the Underground Network back in 92 and representing house artists and DJs since then, not only in New York but also around the world. Back in those days, our residents included Lil Louie Vega, David Morales, and François Kevorkian…

Fun days then, being part of that movement?

You just moved, I don’t know about a movement!

But singing has always been in your blood?

Yes. My father still sings with his group, The Persuasions; they’re known as the Grandfathers of A Cappella. His name is Jay Otis Washington and so I get my musical inheritance from him as well as from my mother who also had a group with her two sisters, although they never recorded.

So your training was old school-home school?

I didn’t grow up having vocal classes, I wish I had, but that didn’t mean it was too late for me to explore techniques in later life.  These days, I do a vocal workshop online before I do a show; my range has really opened up and I can hear the difference.

Is there enough soul in Ibiza for you, musical or otherwise?

Of course- I’m still here however many years later! People are attracted to different things.  There are people who follow the masses but I think that when you get to a certain age, you start thinking about lyrics more.  The younger generation just want to scream and dance, but then there’s the mature generation conscious of what they’re putting into their spirit through the music they’re listening to- a track is a track but when lyrics become part of it, it becomes a song…

Words really count…

I’m a Pisces~Aries and we are generally sensitive, sensuous, very emotional and expressive so lyrics speak to my heart. Lyrics change the way you feel, they can tell you what to do, how to act; lyrics can bring inspiration, they can make someone not wanna kill themselves but then, lyrics can flip that too so you be careful about what you listen to because you’re feeding that into your subconscious.

They say you’re a Diva but what does that really mean?

First of all, diva is short for divinity and is a word that describes a woman who commands the stage; you can feel the presence and the anointing of God within that person. Diva doesn’t mean having attitude, being a spoiled baby. I don’t do that; this is my profession. I love it and thank God for the assignment to do it; I’m honoured to have been chosen to sing before people… I’m really humbled and grateful.

Do you see yourself as religious?

It’s not religion I believe in, it’s God. Religion was created by man in order to keep other men in order; it’s not all that it should be. When you are in tune with God, it is a freedom; God is love…

Is Ibiza of God?

The people here are free, but I don’t hear too much talk of God, maybe because I’m not around the people who do. I think you have to meet people individually to find the god within. In this game, they still open their doors to me so all due praises to God for touching the hearts of the people.

Soul is your thing but do you ever sing the Blues?

I don’t listen to the Blues- mainly because I don’t want to be depressed, I don’t wanna be down; I want my consciousness to be lifted so I don’t wanna sing that ‘my man left me, y’all hurt me, you did this, you did that’ because the next thing I know I’d need a drink…and I don’t even drink! And where do you go from there…sitting at some strange bar and waking up next to somebody you don’t even know? That’s somebody’s story, not mine, but somebody’s…

The do’s and don’t s of being a singer the Tucker way…

I don’t drink and I don’t smoke. Plenty of water. Or my favourite ginger tea with honey, maybe lemons. I only drink soy, almond or rice milk…no cows milk – dairy is no good if you’re a singer, all that phlegm…

So, you don’t drink, you don’t smoke- what’s your poison?

Candy. Sugar. Can we get some more cake??  And a double order of shrimp…I don’t eat nothin’ but the shrimp at the Blue Marlin!

What about your downtime?

I like to chill- I read my spiritual books, I love to write; I try to get in the studio, do some background singing. When I’m here in Ibiza, I’m here to sing- that’s why I come. I don’t do too many parties because when you work in the club, you don’t want to keep going to the club.

Where else can we hear you this summer?

I’m back in Teatro Pereyra on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays. When I’m there, I get to slow it right down and really express myself without a clock…there’s a lot of jamming, RnB and soul ballads, different to my sets at Blue Marlin.

September 26, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized.

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